Natural Spaces at SCSU…

At Southern Connecticut State University, this semester, my portfolio development exhibit will include a participatory installation. During the semester I have been making macro images of botanical and natural subjects: orchids, iris, ferns, trees, leaves, etc, pushing towards very high key, very abstract or both.

Our professor, Jeremey Chandler, encouraged me to consider printing large and I am so very glad that I followed his advice. His teaching style really inspires me to move forward and find the right way. I did not want to make the botanical images large just for the sake of making large images even though this was something I always wanted to do. So I searched for a compelling reason and came up with something that seems fun and exciting.

I decided to explore the montage techniques which Jeremy discussed in class and constructed an imagined  “natural floral “arrangement in very wide panoramic format from individual photographic elements. I intentionally left a noticeable amount of white space in this digital montage and realized that the negative space was very similar to how I had designed with real flowers when I had Buds & Blossoms Floral Design Studio in Westville twenty years ago.

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What if I proposed encouraging fellow students to draw over the large printed images with pastels, pencils, etc.? The extra white space would readily permit this. Professor Chandler suggested looking at the writing of French art critic, Nicolas Bourriaud, whose theory on “relational aesthetics” proposes that “the artwork creates a social environment in which people come together to participate in a shared activity.” Jeremy also suggested presenting this idea during a class critique. Our discussion unearthed questions about the “value of the finished art piece.” Hopefully, the true value will become participation. Some folks like to draw particularly those that frequent the art building at a university!

Printing an 84 x 44 inch pano was a tad challenging but it was a thrill to use the new Epson P9000 series in our lab. It was easier than I expected even though the file was gigantic.  We hung it using clips and it was thrilling to see the large piece on the wall. I went to Hulls Art Supply in New Haven several time to select pastels and pencils which paralleled the color palette. Moab Entrada Rag Bright is a beautiful matte paper made from 100% cotton. The soft texture lends itself nicely to fine art printing and was a perfect surface for the pastels.

Almost immediately the reactions of our art community were thrilling. One person shared his love of flowers and immediately identified the various species. We talked about the recent Roberto Burle Marx exhibit at the NYBG, Mapplethorpe’s perfect botanical images, Compo Farms, White Plains Orchids, studying floral design and local botanical artist, Ellen Hoverkamp. Another person  read my artist statement and seemed quite moved.

Mary, from our class, had already made the first mark which was so subtle that I never noticed it on my fave flower, the large green orchid – Paphiopedilum Hsinying Citron. After viewing the pano at 100% for touch up at least 10 times before printing thought I knew the piece well. Another student, Kenny, is President of the SCSU photo club and I asked him if he would allow me to document his effort. It was fun to photograph Kenny adding to the montage.

Very quickly, a few more folks contributed and the montage took on an entire new life. Peggy made a lady bug and encouraged her design students to also draw on the pano. Subtle and strong shadings were added in the perimeter.  Insects, more flowers, leaves and signatures were added.

By the following week, the Photo Club left their marks and making this a collaborative work of art. Amazing and thrilling to me, knowing the original piece so weIl, is the joy of discovering how so many artists made their own choices.  Someone drew a beautiful large purple flower next to the “green paph.” It looks like the flowers are walking together!

Bees, spiders, rainbows and more appeared from imagination and the pano is becoming a collaborative vision of nature. Folks seem to be having fun. This has far surpassed anything I  could have envisioned and I am humbled and happy.

I showed the Pano to my husband Steve, who is the kindest and most supportive person in the world. He succinctly sums it up: “ you are totally immersed in the world of flowers”.

My wide angle photograph does not do the work in progress justice…and it’s fun to see it up close…so please stop by to see our exhibit, Natural Spaces.

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Appreciation of montage theory…

Our photography class recently visited The Yale Center for British Art in preparation for our film montage assignment. This is a phenomenal exhibit concentrating on current trends in the genre of motion …a first for the Center, running until Sunday, December 29, 2019.

 Migrating Worlds: The Art of the Moving Image in Britain

Theo Eshetu is one of several artists currently featured at YCBA in New Haven. It is important for me to take time to learn about and appreciate an artist’s exploration and vision…this prior interview is fascinating:

 

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A video artist born of mixed African-European descent, Theo Eshetu has spent his career presenting images of his global identity. His work, Brave New World II, is currently on display in the African Art Museum.

Working with Kim Weston…

My friend, Kathy, had mentioned that she really enjoyed a workshop she took, How to See + Make Photographs, led by Kim Weston at the Kehler Liddell Gallery in Westville, CT. After reading about Kim’s work, I was thrilled to discover that she planned another, How to See + Make Photographs II, in conjunction with the ArtEcon Initiative (www.ArtEconInitiative.org). I signed up in April knowing that there would be a gap over the summer as I geared up for my portfolio development class at Southern Connecticut State University.

Years ago, I was a florist in New Haven, CT, and based my designs on the study of Ikebana or Kado – the flower path. My approach was intentionally minimalist so folks could appreciate the individuality & beauty of each blossom. A client gave me a book of Robert Mapplethorpe’s photos of flowers…and I promised myself to put together a body of work that inspired me as much as those photos. In 2001, closed the shop and went back to school to study photography and graphic design. I have been photographing flowers in earnest for over ten years. Magic occurs for me when using a macro lens & standing very close to capture a tiny detail. Equally “magical” is the ability to change something as small as a single pixel and not deal with the unpleasant odors & chemicals of the darkroom. Perhaps, most magical, is the chance to get in so close & capture something not obvious to the human eye. Maybe even crop closer so as to wonder about what the final result describes. I totally love flowers…they make me happy…some more than others. I love to consider them as individuals and love to explore their colors, centers, forms and lines…and am thrilled that much of my work reflects this. Just take a quick glance upwards at the mosaic header. And, I feel that my journey has just started!

Although I went in many directions for school and work, kind, positive & supportive people helped me to stay on track and also encouraged me to see & create with a wider perspective. It’s nice to come back again to this promise made in 1989 while at the same time, Kim’s workshops help me move forward at a time when I hoped to kickstart my creative energies for the fall semester.

In May, Kim announced another workshop, Through the Camera Lens to the Photographic Print.  At first, it was enjoyable to push forward knowing that by the fall there would be some new work for me to show at the university. To be honest, I tried some things for the sake of trying and although the images were interesting and technically proficient I really did not enjoy most of the work and realized that the person I needed to please was me!

It became increasingly challenging to offer an informed opinion without meeting resistance and the interactions felt unpleasant. It was difficult for me  to internalize several carelessly “pronounced” as dogma, principles, some of which hardly made sense. One, in particular, “only people who are good at it should do video,” struck me as odd. Another, “I don’t enjoy explaining the technical stuff about using the camera.” And, another, “I don’t want to see images of dogs, flowers or cuba.” Eventually I realized the futility of offering an alternate opinion, left the workshop and just kept counting the seconds until the start of this fall semester.

However, during the summer workshops with Kim, I tried very selective focus, high key backlighting and intentional defocus…some techniques were relatively new for me.  This allowed me to photograph deliberately arranged, fairly usual botanical subjects in a new way and to concentrate on the abstract components of light and shadow and still make images that please me.

It’’s really hard for me to pin down a  favorite part of these workshops but with all due respect we were introduced to the work of several unfamiliar artists, I was inspired to learn more for days and really enjoyed this part of the learning.

Over the years, in fact, since the early 1970’s, I have taken a number of university level photography courses, specialized workshops and even private instruction to learn and grow as a photographer.

It was such a relief to know that I could look forward to the value of each university class and leave energized, satisfied and inspired…more to come on the value of this type of formalized learning.

cinemagraphs | fun & creative

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It’s important to push past your comfort zone and since I have always loved photographing flowers along with the rest of the word, it has been a challenge to be considered truly creative by those who are. Hopefully, this cinemagraph is a start. The cinemagraph form is something I actually worked with several years ago in an Advanced Digital Photography at Southern Connecticut State University.

The first challenge is to have a collection of images and video suitable for the technique. Most of my flower photographs are hand held, extreme close ups with radical cropping, hi contrast lighting, and sharp focus which typically results in a dark background.

For the cinemagraph to work, it was important to have a high key background and framing to show the entire blossom…so this would be a 180 in terms of my photographic style. And then, this idea was filed away along with the desire to do some hi key work.

Last year, working with a client who needed dozens of individual, isolated product shots was great practice for the future.

Fast forward to spring 2019: I am taking a fantastic workshop led by Kim Weston for the ArtEcon Initiative (www.ArtEconInitiative.org). We meet each week at the Kehler Liddell Gallery,  a retail art gallery collectively operated by member artists, in Westville, CT.

I picked up an interesting dendrobium orchid specimen at White Plains Orchids a few weeks ago and was able to make an image which I thought would be a simple print

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for the final presentation at Kim’s workshop. Pushing past some of my recent abstract work, I realized this orchid image was a perfect element for a cinemagraph. I did a bit more research and found that cinemagraphs have only gained in popularity since my original exploration in 2016. This just happened on Friday, May 3rd so I had to dig out some video footage for the composite. I am pretty sure (optimistic)  that no one is capturing images of water falls and then animating flowers to float and dance so I was comfortable repurposing the flowing water.

Kim brings a scholarly and established approach to the conversation about photography. She has been stressing the importance of originality.

Taking this a step further, I envision a gallery installation of vertically flowing water with a floral animation projection which could be influenced by locale/environment. Or perhaps, a moving seascape with animated botanical elements. So this will be continued.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

typography | spring 2019 SCSU

Gill Sans Poster Design

Unfortunately, I have had mixed feelings about Eric Gill and Gill Sans. It is impossible to forget that he may have sexually abused his daughters.  Art Historians & Curators debate the need to separate the art from the artist. I find it difficult to do this. Philosophically, this assignment became very challenging.

Participating in an effective critique is an important skill. Our professor, Peggy Bloomer, provided great guidelines at the start of the semester – the CRAP model!

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Paula Scher said “Make it Bigger” and this makes sense when considering contrast.

Maybe someone will notice the “ill”  in the counter of the gigantic, gorgeous G.  Of course, this is a humorous way to include repetition.

I was delighted to discover that the G is not centered on it’s vertical axis and considered Gill’s subtle variances of internal alignment when placing supporting type.

The viewer’s eye should stay on this poster because the few elements are close to each other and gain importance and relevance by their proximity.

A color guru might notice the choice of “light acid green” for the background and connect the color to vomit or bile.  Adding color makes this design stronger – thanks to Peggy.

It was a conscious choice not to add extraneous design elements like background type texture.  This design is bold and confident.

 

Exactly what is a LOGO?

Logo

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

logo (abbreviation of logotype,[4] from Greekλόγος logos “word” and τύπος typos “imprint”) is a graphic mark, emblem, or symbol used to aid and promote public identification and recognition. It may be of an abstract or figurative design or include the text of the name it represents as in a wordmark.

 

And, below are a few logos which I designed for clients who had very specific ideas about what they envisioned:

MGFlogoSealWEB copyMatty just received his 100th 5 star review from YELP – go team!!!

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Mike’s patent approval preceded his vision for this logo!!!

It’s not that hard to figure out which of the above designs are a tad more complex; yet, both convey the exact message intended.

Sometimes, it’s complicated…

Jon & Michele Valee asked me to design packaging for their award-winning rum cakes. We worked really hard to get the final containers to reflect their brand vision…it’s pretty cool how the small, medium & large cakes stack together to mimic the form of a lighthouse. The design also won an award!

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And, when an upscale department store chain in Bermuda wanted to feature their cakes for tourist gifts, they asked me to infuse the design with an island vibe, making sure the sand was “pink.” This design is fairly complicated. The final packages fold up just like the image above.BermudaCakes

 

Corporate design is always about respect…

For the past few years,  I have been concentrating on Marketing & Design for several clients in the food service industry.

By providing comprehensive marketing support across all channels for Lighthouse Rum Cakes and Gelato Giulianaas well as other clients, I have developed a broad range of experience and skills, not limited to award-winning graphic design and photography.

These efforts are supported by continued study in Business Administration and front/back end marketing communications protocols. My business and design philosophy provides unconditional support and availability.

I have also developed marketing communications for educational & clients in the retail and service industries. It is particularly gratifying to have won several design and photography awards.

Below are several more examples of my work in various sectors:

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Because  I manage social media for several clients, personally, I never, ever post, comment or share anything controversial which could potentially conflict with my client’s philosophy. After careful deliberation, I decided that most visitors to this post would be here to see my range and ability to take risks for a client w/their permission. So here u have it – the real designer inside takes a stand.

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I was asked to use type only for this design to illustrate Open Type and it is, perhaps, my all-time favorite piece.
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This university brochure design is very stylized – yet quite simple with references to grids & vectors.